Religious attendance moderates the environmental effect on prosocial behavior in nigerian adolescents

Yoon Mi Hur*, Hoe Uk Jeong, Frances Ajose, Ariel Knafo-Noam

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


There is a growing body of literature linking religious attendance to prosocial behavior (PB). The main purposes of the present study were to estimate genetic and environmental influences on the frequency of religious attendance (FRA) and to explore whether and how FRA moderates genetic and/or environmental influences on PB. As part of the Nigerian Twin and Sibling Study, 2860 (280 monozygotic male, 417 monozygotic female, 544 dizygotic male, 699 dizygotic female, and 920 opposite-sex dizygotic) twins (mean age = 14.2 years; SD = 1.7 years; age range = 12-18 years) completed a questionnaire regarding FRA and a PB scale. Similar to the findings from western twin samples, FRA showed substantial shared environmental influences of 74% (95% CI = 69%, 78%), with absence of genetic effects. The phenotypic correlation between FRA and PB was modest but positive and significant (r =.12; p <.01), suggesting that PB is higher among more frequent attenders than among less frequent attenders. The results of gene-environment (G × E) interaction model-fitting analysis revealed that FRA changed individual environmental experiences rather than genetic effects on PB such that while genetic variance was stable, non-shared environmental variance declined, leading the total phenotypic variance of PB to decrease with increasing levels of religious attendance.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)56-61
Number of pages6
JournalTwin Research and Human Genetics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2019.


  • Africans
  • G × E interaction model
  • adolescence
  • prosocial behavior
  • religious attendance
  • twin


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